David Burrowes backs compulsory relationships and sex education in schools

7th March 2017

David Burrowes supports a number of amendments to the Children and Social Work Bill, including statutory support for vulnerable women who have had a child removed, compulsory relationships and sex education in schools and about children’s safeguarding and welfare services. 

I rise to support many of the proposals, not least those in my name, which the Minister has supported from the Dispatch Box.

On new clause 7, statutory guidance will spread good practice, which is all too limited in relation to those who need therapeutic support, such as those who are at risk—not least those who have come from a care background—of repeat pregnancies. There is a duty of care in this Bill not only to children but to vulnerable adults, and I appreciate that that will now come within statutory guidance, so I will not need to press the new clause. However, I pay particular tribute to the Family Rights Group and the other organisations supporting it.

I very much support new clause 15, and our earlier new clauses 5 and 6 paved the way towards it. The thrust of it is very welcome. We should recognise the support from all sides of the argument. Previously, there was a stalemate, and we were looking simply at when we would make sex education compulsory. Now, we are focused on relationships and building the resilience in relationships that vulnerable children— particularly those who do not have any sight or sound of healthy relationships— do not have. I welcome that and the reassurance on age-appropriateness and the religious background of pupils.

The Government’s position on new clause 14 is welcome in focusing on safeguarding. This is not a re-run of Dubs or of those earlier arguments. This is about safeguarding. Whether we are talking about children in the UK or children coming from abroad, all children need safeguarding, and I welcome the commitment that has been made on that. However, as a result of this debate, the Government need to be more transparent about keeping the Dubs process open so that we can do all we can for children here and elsewhere.

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Earlier Interventions in the same debate

I appreciate the Minister’s comments on new clause 7, which has cross-party support. There is welcome investment from the Department in Pause and other programmes that provide support to vulnerable young women, but I want to check that the statutory guidance will ensure that such schemes get further cover. Those who have lost a child and are at risk due to vulnerabilities need therapeutic care support, so will this extra statutory guidance ensure that they get it?

 

I can give my hon. Friend that reassurance. We want to ensure that every care leaver, whatever their circumstances, gets the support that they need. That particular group is often very vulnerable, and we must respond to that in the best possible way.

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What the Minister said from the Dispatch Box did not seem too far away from what new clause 14 is seeking, which is to ensure that we recognise exactly what the capacity is for all children, including unaccompanied children. Is not the call for transparency the very call referred to in the Home Affairs Committee report, in which the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner said he would welcome greater transparency? He was charged with the duty of going there independently to find the answer, and he wants transparency.

 

Absolutely. The fact that not only Members of this House but individuals such as the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner are asking for this tells me that we need to do it.

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